This won’t drive you to tears
The only tears that should be shed on an onion breeding station should be when the produce is being tested in the kitchen.
That’s why, as part of Seminis’s ongoing commitment to ensure the Pukekohe Onion Breeding Station is always a safe place to work, the team completed a Tractor Safety Operation training course 13 – 14 July. Vertical Horizonz implemented the training, covering key skill areas such as implement attachment, power take-off, maintenance and driving. “The course is designed to train new and experienced tractor operators in how to keep safe when using some of the most dangerous equipment on the farm” says training provider Russel McManus, “tractors are heavy pieces of equipment and can be much more difficult to operate than ordinary vehicles.”
The course was attended by five Seminis staff from the breeding station’s Research and Technology Development teams as well as three growers and young employees from Chapman Onion Exports and Sutherland Produce Ltd. Anthony Julian, Station Manager was keen to involve people from the wider onion growing community to build their capacity as part of this safety initiative. Anthony said, “every year in New Zealand we see members of our community either killed or injured in tractor accidents. People can sometimes forget that tractors are serious machines and drivers need to be trained to us them safely.”
Under new legislation, employers now have a responsibility in New Zealand to protect their staff by providing professional training for machinery use. Participants from Chapman Onion Exports and Sutherland Produce Ltd received New Zealand Qualifications Authority certification in Tractor Operations Unit Standards 19044 and 24552. Tekarawa Tauman from Chapman Onion Exports Ltd thoroughly enjoyed the course finding it “very useful in reminding me that a machine that I operate almost every day needs to be treated with respect.” Course participants are looking forward to demonstrating their new-found skills. Members of the public are invited to the Seminis Pukekohe Onion Innovation Day which will be held at the breeding station on January 24th, 2018. The onion breeding station is located at 704 Harrisville Road, Pukekohe.